20 December 2013

JWT in partnership with Warc hosted the inaugural Warc Conversations

Report compiled by Megha Manchanda, Sr. Planning Director (JWT, Gurgaon)

JWT in partnership with Warc hosted the inaugural Warc Conversations in Delhi on 12th December, 2013. The audience consisted of JWT and Warc’s senior most clients and the JWT team.

Off the back of the newly released Asia Strategy Report, Ed Pank (MD, Warc Asia) shared key learnings from this year’s Warc Prize for Asian Strategy which showcased the region’s best strategic thinking. The presentation was followed by a panel discussion with some highly respected people from the marketing and advertising fraternity.

The panel consisted of:

Mr Ajay Kakar- Chief Marketing Officer, Aditya Birla Group
Ms Bindu Sethi- Chief Strategy Officer, JWT
Mr Chandrasekar Radhakrishnan- Head of Communications (SAR), Nestle India
Mr Shubhajit Sen- Global Lead & VP Emerging Consumer Market, GSK
Mr Viral Oza- Director Marketing, Nokia India

The discussion was extremely interesting, candid and insightful where topics ranging from the global slowdown to emerging digital trends to relationship between the marketers and advertisers were discussed and debated. The discussion went longer than the designated time of one hour while the audience were still asking for more.  

The session is a first in the series of insightful and strategic discussions that JWT promises to hold for its clients and team from time to time.

Keep watching this space for more.

19 December 2013

Of Brands in the Splinternet

By Mohit Hira, SVP & Digital Head - JWT India Group, JWT Delhi Account Management

It could have easily been yet another typical panel discussion on the future of digital marketing. But it wasn’t.

Partly because everyone’s accepted that, when it comes to digital brand-building, the future’s not coming. The future’s already here. And partly because we had a set of “not-old-but-mature” CMOs engaged in a sparkling conversation. Literally.

They came from Birla Sunlife, GSK, Nestlé, Nokia, Pepsi et al at the JWT-WARCConversations last Thursday in Gurgaon, to discuss how brands could unlock sustainable growth in 2014. And, while it started out as a meandering flow of easy banter around the current slowdown and possible challenges that brands could face, it quickly focused on the impact of the digital medium. And, from there, to the role brands now need to play in this uncontrollable medium.

This is not a new debate. But there were perspectives that were fresh and set me thinking. Perhaps, because like the panelists, some of us had also migrated from a static, staccato, offline advertising era to a volatile, interval-free, online communications age.

So, think about these facts…

There was a time when time was finite. No, that doesn’t mean we have 25 hours now but we have managed to stretch time and bring elasticity to it, a lot more than we could in a non-computerised, fixed-line telephony world. The media of that time – 15 or 20 years ago – was also finite: a newspaper had a predictable number of pages; television (even with the arrival of satellite broadcasters) had secondage that could not be extended or revisited. There were no digital recorders, no YouTube that allowed a viewer to go binge-viewing and create his own programming schedule: the remote control was, at best, a channel-switcher; whereas today it enables one to master time itself, to flip back and forth at will. (HG Wells would have been delighted.) And YouTube, that mouse-controlled,scourge of copyright-catatonic creators was yet to be unleashed on an unsuspecting, hungry world. It would grow to become larger than many TV channels at a fraction of the cost, and allow a viewer to go as far back in time as he wished, at will; as long as someone had uploaded the video he wanted from an archive.

There was also a time when we learned that brands had to behave in a certain way. Brands would be personified and were meant to appear consistently, speak in a defined tonality… in short, they were predictable. And rigid. Life was easier for the brand manager and his agency because things were templated. A media plan had to be frozen days (if not weeks) in advance because, although it had fought the government’s quota regime, the media was itself still caught in the quagmire of self-imposed inventory quotas.

Everything was also integrated: all services rested within a single agency, brands and clients were wedded to their agency partners, audiences were sitting ducks waiting to be targeted en masse as they turned up almost magically every Sunday morning to suspend disbelief and succumb to Ramanand Sagar’s histrionics.

But that was before the media agency was born out of the creative agency and exposed themselves both to predatory purchase managers. The partner had became a vendor. Dis-integration had arrived: remove the hyphen and you’ll realise what the word really means. Media channels had also mushroomed and eyeballs were no longer available on demand. Niche became nice. Audiences had fragmented, the client-agency relationship had moved from long-term commitment to a flirtatious fling with creative boutiques. The triad of the client-agency-consumer was replaced by the tangled triangle of the client-agency-second agency. Therein lay the problem: a single brand owner and a single brand custodian meant greater accountability; but in a multi-agency relationship, while the brand owner was still one, he had divided the custody of his marque to several agencies and consultants. As a result, no single agency could now take credit or blame for either the rise or fall in brand metrics. And the poor brand manager spent the better part of his time orchestrating campaigns between them instead of being out there in the marketplace. Somewhere along this journey, the niche creative hotshops would face the dharam-sankat of growth versus quality…success meant sacrifice.

Add to this, the explosion of social media and the onslaught of the always-on, ever-ready-to-express, smartphoned youngster. Brands now have to be on guard, exposed and in the public eye 24x7 – not just on prime time. The concept of appointment-viewing is history and media plans can no longer be cast in stone: a single, radical twist to a campaign can skew a brand’s plans and lead to overnight changes in media plans. All you need is YouTube and a maverick with a mashup. It cannot be a coincidence that, anagrammatically speaking, ‘viral’ becomes‘rival’.

Brands have, actually, never been used to conversations. That entire stimulus-response thing we learned in textbook Jim Young workshops was meant for a one-way world. Not for a stimulus-response-stimulus-response-stimulus-response chain that is now the default dialogue everywhere. A post, a tweet, a picture instagrammed is all the stimuli a trigger-happy generation needs to make or break a brand in seconds. The thumb never had it so good. And because everything happens rapid-fire in real time, everything is also very transient. Moods change, likes become dislikes and there is, apparently, nothing wrong in this 180-degree flip.  No guilt. If this is true of human beings where our behaviour and tone of voice changes within hours or by simply transiting from the workplace to other places, why should it not be so for brands themselves? And why should brands continue to invest blindly in broadcast media with no assurance of who’s at the other end? Why, too, should ROI be demanded from digital media only?

In this volatile splinternet (yes, the term does exist) how can a templated brand ever converse with its consumers? Why should brands not be allowed to change tonality depending on the stimuli that comes back at them? The tux is not a style statement today, the t-shirt is. Control is not the key, agility is. Dialogue is the order of the day. Brands that shed the starch and find the courage to be flexible and also trust one brand custodian for the long-term will find that they thrive. Simply because you can get one gymnast to be agile and aesthetic, not a motley gang of untrusting rivals.

So, dear “maturing-client”, keep the faith… in your long-term agency partner. In the medium that is attracting the very-mobile masses. And, most of all, figure out a way to engage with, and win, the faith of the fickle digital consumer.

The article was first published on Facebook. 

11 December 2013

Exploring the world of Occasion Based Marketing

By Upasana Dua, AVP & Strategic Planning Director and Noor Samra, Sr. Account Planner 
(JWT, Gurgaon) 

In this study we deep dive into the relationship between F&B brands and consumption occasions, analyzing how brands have leveraged existing occasions or better yet, created new ones to successfully call theirs. 

The power of appropriating a consumption occasion is well known among marketers. Since “consumers eat by occasions, not by demographics or psychographics” owning a consumption occasion provides an opportunity to speak to consumers across the board and make particular brands top-of-mind, thereby making a brand synonymous with an occasion. 

Contrary to common belief, there’s much more to occasion-based marketing (OBM) than just day part occasions. Consumption occasions can be culled out by capitalizing on a news event or large scale public events. They can be crafted around the life cycle of the consumer or by expanding associations. 

Upon analyzing occasion based marketing by various brands in India and globally, we discovered that most OBM initiatives operate within a framework of propositions. Some address the consumer’s physiological needs (hunger), while others leverage an emotional state or a mood. Several OBM initiatives anchor themselves in real consumption occasions. While a few others break the mould and create new consumption occasions altogether! (See full report for brand plotting).

It also emerged that most F&B brand’s OBM initiatives are around the similar hooks, while only a few occupy the proposition space with most potential.

Can you guess which proposition space is the most leveraged one and which one is the least? Would you like to know which proposition space has the most potential for increasing frequency of purchase and emotional connect and why? To know the answers write to us… 

For more details on the complete study, please write to upasana.dua@jwt.com

20 November 2013

Creating and cherishing Brand Ocassions

By Shaziya Khan, VP & Executive Planning Director (JWT, Mumbai) 


I love people and brands with a sense of occasion. Don't you?

Do our brands celebrate occasions? And does that matter? This poser dawned after a festive lunch with friends and family.

In the inevitably delightful post event banter, we were discussing, with some humour, and a lot of affection, someone who almost always changes clothes for dinner. Even nowadays. I happened to spontaneously remark in this person’s defence, and appreciation. “Well, she has a sense of occasion”. “Oh, that is a nice way to put it in perspective,” someone else said. And the conversation moved on. I forgot about it.

Till today. Was reading about how festive celebrations are hooks for writers and artists. And this idea first popped into thought: Do our brands have a sense of occasion? After all, there’s always something so lovely and lively about people who do. Maybe there is pointer in there for brands too?

People’s sense of occasion finds expression in myriad ways. Crisp white shirt, holiday update, New Year family photo, housewarming gifts, promotion dinner, lazy lunch, surprise train or plane tickets, coffee and cheesecake break, signed farewell gift, quiet charity, handmade card, a timely text, mithai, a chocolate cake...

Each of these gestures is thoughtful, charming, refreshing. Appropriate. Yet, individualised. Almost always welcomed!

People whose gestures or words express a genuine sense of occasion spread a sure, spontaneous good feeling all around. Even among the stoic, or the busy.

As with people, so with brands.

So then, it is worth asking every now and then – is our brand expressing a lovely, lively sense of occasion?

Does our brand’s marketing imbue it with thoughtfulness, charm, freshness via an appropriate sense of occasion in it’s category, or consumer space? Again, myriad ways. No formulas. Festive greetings, pleasant surprises, timely topical messages, relevant celebrations, special dressy look/ pack...

Let’s create power brands. But let’s not forget the power of power brands that have a sense of occasion. That know-how to celebrate occasions. Brand occasions – create them, cherish them, re-invent them, refresh them, change them.

Now, you have a sense of a sense of occasion, right? Or, if you have always had it, got a renewed appreciation of it, right?

Great! What do we do about Mondays?

The article was first published on exchange4media (Nov 8, 2013).

24 October 2013


The Changing Ways of Discovering, Defining and Displaying Food Content Online 

‘Social Foodography’ is a progression of JWT India Planning’s initiative ‘Juniper Wheat Tabasco: Perspectives on Foods'. In this report, JWT curates digital content from over 50 online sources to explore what the foodies are doing and what the food brands do.

Automotive buyers actively use the internet to research company news on new products and user reviews to help make brand decisions. Mobile phone buyers take pride in being ahead of the curve on new product news and use the internet to build their sense of expertise. Foodies on the other hand contribute to colorful content creation and use the internet to express their creativity. 

The study finds out that there is a gap between what the foodies are doing and what the food brands do. While Indian food brands are going where the Foodies are, they are not doing what the Foodies are doing.  

‘Social Foodography’ explores reasons and resources for brands to curate consistent, visually-compelling, social personas that simultaneously mimic and inspire their target consumer’s Foodie lifestyle. It recommends that aspirational Indian food brands that want to communicate a lifestyle should acknowledge the implications of Social Foodography as a branding vehicle.

For more details on the complete study, please write to mythili.chandrasekar@jwt.com